Martin Kaymer earned his first victory in around 4 years as many European stars shined in the Italian Open.
Kaymer carded a second round of 63 at Gardagolf to finish 11 under par, but the entire field will be separated by just seven shots heading into the weekend.
“It’s been a while since I played that solid,” Kaymer said (h/t ESPN).
“I think I was getting very close recently but that positivity was missing on the golf course because I haven’t had a lot of good results.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve won majors and had the situations I had at the Ryder Cup, it’s really exciting to be in a position that you can win a golf tournament again.”
Graeme McDowell experienced his last win back in 2015. McDowell was named as a Ryder Cup vice-captain last week but still of qualifying for the team instead, as he missed that opportunity back in 2016.
“My head will be down this weekend and I will be grinding really hard,” McDowell said.
“There’s a lot of really great players in this field.
“I’ll have to play well to win. It would do a lot for me, would do a lot for my summer, a lot for my Ryder Cup bid and a lot for my confidence in general.”
Danny Willett added a 67 to his opening 65 and has yet to drop a shot this week.
“I haven’t made a cut for a while so to actually be this side of the leaderboard is pretty nice,” Willett said.
“I’ve been working really hard and I’ve not been getting any results and you just have to keep your head down and hope that you get a couple of days like this under your belt.”
R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers Defends Pay Gap
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers is defending the massive pay gap in regards to the purses for The Open Championship and the Women’s British Open.
Slumbers was being flooded with questions from the media regarding the sizable disparity, but stood his ground in defending it.
“We’re as ambitious for the Women’s British Open as we are for The Open,” Slumbers said, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “But as I have said previously, we want to grow the women’s game. We’re passionate about growing the women’s game, but we need to build a sustainable women’s game, and that means building a bigger amateur game right from the very beginning up to the top.
“To build the economics of the Women’s British Open, to be able to keep raising the prize money we need to do it as a sustainable business model. It needs to be a long-term business model, and that is what we are spending a long time doing. How do we build a better model to have a more financially successful Women’s British Open that will flow then down into the prize money? Where it ends up, I don’t know. But my ambition is to keep growing the overall performance of it and keep enhancing the status of the event.”
The purse for the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club this week is $10.75 million, with the Champion Golfer of the Year collecting $1.935 million.
In comparison, the purse for the 43rd Women’s British Open is $4.5 million, with the winner taking home $675,000.
“As we’re looking at the Women’s British Open, how we attract more people to watch the championship, to watch it live or watch it on TV, it may be that only being on links courses might not be the right answer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see with the Women’s British Open a mix of some of the great inland courses and the great links courses, but all aimed at trying to make the championship more engaged with by the public.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about (taking The Open outside England) and I think that’s because of the success of bringing it to Royal Portrush,” Slumbers said. “But we have 10 courses in the pool that we use and we think they’re the best links courses in the world, and we’re happy with those courses.
“If we think about the past few years, going back to Carnoustie, going back to Hoylake and coming back to here, they’ve been great successes. We are not looking, at the moment, beyond those 10 courses.”
Rory McIlroy Starts The Open with Quadruple-Bogey
Rory McIlroy didn’t kick off his play at The Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in the way he may have wanted to. In fact, it couldn’t have gone much worse.
McIlroy, widely considered to be the favorite to win and playing in his native Northern Ireland, hit his tee shot on the first hole out of bounds and ended up with a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4, 421-yard hole.
Statistics show that tt’s the first time McIlroy started a major championship with a double-bogey or worse since the 2012 Masters.,
“I’m just treating this like any other Open Championship,” McIlroy said, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
“I’ve played well here for the last few years. I’ve played well on this golf course. So I’ve just got to go out and hit the shots and stay in the present. If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, hopefully by Sunday night that will be good enough.”
John Peterson Un-Retires from Professional Golf After Tiger Woods Performance
Former NCAA champion John Peterson, who retied from the sport of professional golf at the age of 30 in 2018, is coming out of retirement to play once again.
According to ESPN’s Bob Harig, Peterson changed his mind about his career partly due to Tiger Woods’ “inspiring” win at the Masters back on April 14th.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back to realize what you had,” Peterson said, during an appearance on 104.5 FM ESPN Radio Baton Rouge .
“I was in an office for seven months, and it was fine when I started, I was paying the bills.
“Then the Masters came along and I’m watching this kid Patrick Cantlay, who in 2011 finished second to me in the national championship when he was at UCLA, and he’s finishing ninth in the Masters, it’s on TV, and I beat him, and I beat him a lot, and I’m just like, ‘Man, that could be me.’
“And then Tiger wins, with his story, it was just so inspiring, honestly. And I quit my job, seriously, the next day after the Masters.”
Peterson will have to attempt to qualify for events and then tournaments later this year.
“I’m taking a big risk, and I really don’t have any place to play right now 100 percent, so I have to qualify and stuff,” Peterson said. “I will get back. I know I will. It’s just kind of a regret watching the guys that I played with my whole life finish top-10 in the majors and just knowing I can do it.”
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